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‘They’re strong, hard to beat, not scared’ | Press conference | News

Mikel Arteta has been studying Molde in depth over the past few days – and he has seen enough to know that they will be tough opponents on Thursday night.

The Norwegian side have won their opening two Europa League fixtures against Dundalk and Rapid Vienna, and our manager is expecting us to face several challenges against them.
 
This is what Arteta told the media:
 
on the strengths and weaknesses of Molde…
Their strengths are that they work really well as a team. They are a really strong, physical team. They are really well organised. I would say defensively, they are really hard to beat when they get in this middle-low block. They have some creative players who are dangerous in the final third and they’re a real threat on set-pieces as well. The table now is really tight, we’ve both won both games so it will probably the most difficult game that we’ve played so far in the competition.

on if Arsenal and Molde are the two favourite teams to progress….
I don’t know. It’s only two games in, things can change a lot in the next fixtures. Obviously, we are at home, we have the possibility to go in front on our own. We want to finish first and I guess get into the next Europa stage as quickly as we can. I know in order to do that we have to beat them tomorrow.
 
on Norwegian football…
Normally when you see this type of talent continuously, it’s not a coincidence. A lot of things have been done really well in the last few years and I’ve heard that there has been a lot of changes throughout academies, national teams, investment in coaches and facilities as well around the country. You can see that coming through. I think the league is much more competitive now, it’s much better, and that brings better quality players and more prepared players to compete in different leagues around Europe. Congratulations to them because I think they’re going a really good job.

on which Norwegian players he’s noticed…
I cannot talk about individual players. You mentioned some really good ones [Haaland and Odegaard] already, so you know.

on whether he spoke to Solskjaer about Molde…
No, normally before these games you don’t have time to talk much. Normally to talk about the next opponent is impossible.

on Molde’s first two UEL games…
They have managed to win both of them and not without difficulties, as you saw in the games that I’ve seen as well. But they found a way to win them both, they will be really competitive and I expect them to be tough tomorrow, as they’ve been in the last two games they’ve played in the competition so far. We have to be ready because it won’t be easy.

on Molde’s biggest offensive threat…
I just mentioned to your colleague that they have some creative players in the final third. They are not scared and they have some really good rotation and patterns when they get into this position. If we allow them to cross the ball into the box, it will be difficult for us. I mention as well the set-pieces which I think is a key thing in the game.

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